For our third day in Vietnam, we availed of the Cao Dai Temple-Cu Chi Tunnel Tour package from Delta Adventure Tours. Delta Adventure is located in De Tham Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh.
This is Slim Jim. He was our tour guide for the day. He worked as an English teacher for 15 years, so his English was great. It was understandable, he taught us a lot about the places we went to, and he had a lot of idioms up his sleeve. Try to get him as your tour guide if possible.
Our first stop that day was at Handicapped Handicrafts where the employees were all victims of Agent Orange. They make the handicrafts you see all around Vietnam.
After this, it was off to Cao Dai we went. Cao Dai started in 1926 and is a syncretist, monotheistic religion. The full name of this religion is Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do which means the Great Religion of the Third Period of Revelation and Salvation.
You’re not allowed to wear shoes outside the temple.
Cao Dai means high altar and represents the highest place where God reigns. There are around 2-3 million believers throughout the world.
This religion practices prayer, veneration of ancestors, nonviolence and vegetarianism with the minimum goal of rejoining God the Father in Heaven and the ultimate goal of freedom from the recycle of birth and death.
The temple has different entrances for men and women. During their prayer service, the men and women are also separated into the right and left sides of the temple.
Some of their beliefs include heaven having 36 levels and and 72 planets have intelligent life. Planet 1 is the closest to heaven and 72 nearest to hell. They believe that Earth is the 68th planet and they believe that the “lowest citizen” on planet 67 would not trade places with a king on 68 and so on.
I love the dragon pillars they had all throughout the temple.
The participants bowing. They make the tourists go up on balcony to watch the service.
They have three teachings that represent the heirarchal levels of spiritual attainment: Buddha (highest level), Sage (Wise old man) and Saint.
The musical accompaniment for the service was also on the balcony.
Some of the architecture as taken from the 2nd floor.
Cao Dai has three saints: Chinese Revolutionary Sun Yat Sen, writer Victor Hugo and Nguyen Binh Khen. They are depicted on the painting above.
I got to take pictures of the service on the ground level. It was much more amazing from the ground level, since I could see what they were looking at and more of the temple’s architecture.
After the temple visit, we headed to lunch and then to the Cu Chi Tunnels.